Check Out Club Meeting: March 2009 Meeting
Featured In: March 2009 Newsletter
While I was working on a 1/72 scale Fujimi F-86, I stopped to inspect my work. Some impromptu flying around the room with my partially made F-86 ensued, but something was missing. The Spitfire has the Me-109, the Wildcat got the Zero, and so where was my MiG-15? My F-86 dominates the sky in my room because there are no worthy MiG-15s in sight.
The Hobby Boss range of “easy assembly” kits is just that, with simplified part breakdown, cockpits molded into the fuselage, and one piece canopies with heavy attachment points. There is a perception that these kits are more toy than model.
The main components are packed in a vacformed tray.
On opening the box, there is a vacuform tray containing the fuselage halves (top and bottom), one-piece wing, a clear plastic sprue and a light grey sprue. A second light grey sprue with the remaining parts hides under the tray. In total there are 51 grey parts and 3 clear ones. The transparent parts are clear and reasonably thin. Some of the parts are duplicates. Extra antennas, speed brake actuators, and drop tank supports are provided. The kit also has a choice of two styles of drop tanks. The one piece canopy has a large attachment pin in the front.
A shot of the sprue containing the balance of the parts not in the vac-formed tray.
The exterior surface detail is recessed but on the heavy side. The plastic surface could stand additional polishing if a metallic finish is to be pursued. There were some sink holes on the wing above the landing bays, but these weren’t bad. I could not find any other serious blemishes.
The instruction sheet is printed on one folded glossy color sheet. No nose weight is indicated in the instructions. You will definitely need weights to prevent this bird from sitting on its tail. A lot of weight.
The paint/marking guide is in full color
The small decal sheet is for two aircraft. Both feature red trim over silver finish. The first MiG-15 is in Soviet stars number 384 stationed in China, 1951. The other MiG-15 is in PLAAF markings with a gaudy all red tail “Red Fox”. Unfortunately no North Korean aircraft is represented. While I haven’t used Hobby Boss decals, they appear well printed with good register and color opacity.
The cockpit is NOT molded into the fuselage. The separate cockpit tub includes basic side consoles and molded in control stick, a separate one-piece seat (which isn’t too bad after you add some seatbelts) and a featureless instrument panel. Some instrument panel decals would be nice but are not included.
This kit actually has a separate cockpit tub, a feature not commonly found in Hobby Boss’ “Easy Kit” line.
No instrument flying in this MiG! The panel is totally devoid of any detail whatsoever.
The seat is relatively simple, and lacks harness detail.
The canopy has a large locating tab at its front edge.
The intake splitter/nose wheel well is installed just in front of the cockpit. There is very little space for weights. I used lead foil and crammed them in every a little space I could find. There is some space in the splitter, and under and behind the cockpit. Before you glue the fuselage together, there are gaps in front of the nose wheel well area, as well as some other structures that need cleaning up. It will be harder to do later. At the other end of the fuselage the exhaust provided is a little shallow.
The intake splitter is molded with the nose gear well.
The wing sweep and chord appear correct. The wing trailing edges are acceptable. Be careful, as the pitot tube is molded on the wing. The two fuselage halves trap the wing. The wing fit is okay but some filler will be needed at the wing roots.
The fuselage fit is tight but the seam will run through the airbrake well making cleanup more difficult. The larger MiG-15 bis airbrakes are separate and can be display open or closed if you don’t want to deal with the seam in the airbrake area. The radio mast is included, but the SRO-1 IFF antenna needs to be scratch built. This should not be too difficult.
The wing to fuselage joint will require some work.
The landing gear struts are well molded, but appear to be in a collapsed state. A review of references may help correct this problem. It won’t be easy. The main gear doors and wells have some depth and reasonable internal details. The stabilizers fit well, but a trim tab is missing on the left side. The canopy is molded as a single clear piece with some of the internal structure details molded on the upper fuselage. This will make opening up the canopy more difficult.
The upper and lower fuselage splits right through the airbrake wells.
The speed brakes feature structural detail on their insides.
250 liter slipper tanks and 400 liter drop tanks are included. My photo references show additional braces are need to supplement the “V” brace provided, but that shouldn’t be hard.
I compared the kit parts to drawings (which happen to be in 1/72) in the Mushroom Model Publication, MiG- 15. The general dimensions look right and for the most part the panel lines are good and the general shape is acceptable.
Eduard have long announced a family of 1/72 MiG-15s. My wife calls it “vapor-models” in reference to computer games announced but never released. When Eduard finally releases their MiG-15 it will be “top shelf” (but at $20-30). Till then, For 10 bucks this Hobby Boss MiG-15 will more than fill the void. It is a good starting place for novices, yet with enough details to occupy more advance modelers. My F-86 will have a compadre soon enough.